Sharpen Up

5 Smart Ways to Use a Paring Knife

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Christine Han)

File your paring knife under the category of “small but mighty tools.” With a blade that averages about three inches in length, this is the knife we reach for when our chef’s knife feels a bit too cumbersome.

In addition to peeling and trimming fruit and vegetables, here are five smart ways you can put your paring knife to work.

1. Coring tomatoes.

While serrated knives are your best choice for slicing tomatoes, you’ll want to reach for a small paring knife to remove the core.

2. Hulling strawberries.

Skip the uni-tasking tool made solely for this purpose. The sharp tip of a paring knife works wonders at hulling strawberries.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

3. Zesting citrus.

When you don’t have a Microplane or peeler handy, a sharp paring knife is your go-to tool for zesting citrus. Similar to the way you’d use a peeler, slide the knife between the zest and white pith, then slice the zest into thin strips or tiny pieces.

(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

4. Deveining shrimp.

Because of their small size, a paring knife is the best tool in the kitchen for deveining shrimp. Run the edge of the blade along the back of the shrimp to make a shallow cut, then use the tip of the knife to pull out the vein.

5. Releasing cake from a baking pan.

In a perfect world, we’d bake cakes that seamlessly slide out of their pans with ease. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, which is why it’s helpful to have a paring knife handy. Work the cake out of the pan by carefully sliding the paring knife around the edge.

Do you have any other smart tips and good ideas for your paring knife?